Posted on March 18, 2011 by fourcornerstravel
When I am meeting with a new client that is considering a cruise for the first time, there are many questions that arise.
- Are the ships too big/too small?
- Will I be bored?
- Will I get seasick?
- Will I get claustrophobic in the cabin?
- Is there enough closet/storage space?
- What can we do at night?
- What happens during the days at sea?
- How do I know what I can do in port?
- Will I like the food?
- How can I keep in touch with my family at home?
All of these questions lead me to a chat about what a client likes and dislikes. Cruises are NOT one size fits all. A ship and itinerary that might be ideal for one client might be a poor choice for another. I think selecting a cruise is a lot like buying a car. Two people can like the same make of a car, but like different models. Two people can like the same model of a car, but one likes leather seats and another prefers cloth. One can like a red car, and another prefers blue. That’s where a good travel agent can help.
If I am talking to a client for the first time I may ask them about past vacations and which ones they loved and why. I also ask about which ones they didn’t enjoy. I can learn a lot from the like and dislikes. It gives me a good idea about how to match a client with the right cruise line, ship and itinerary.
There are small ships and mega ships. There are ocean cruises and river cruises. I do believe that there is a cruise for everyone, but everyone does not fit every cruise. I like matching clients with the best cruise line, ship, itinerary and sail date for them. That is the way to plan the perfect cruise.
Filed under: Cruises, Why A Travel Agent | Tagged: Cruise Vacation, Cruises | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 10, 2011 by fourcornerstravel
Another unique way of looking at a cruise vacation is as a method of transportation. Cruises can be an affordable way to travel to many countries in a short period of time so you can do and see what you want to do on land.
In the last few years cruises in Europe became very popular. Land-only trips were costly and a cruise would allow you to visit many locations at a good value. There has also been an increase in specialized excursions for cruises to the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico. These excursions include specialized trips for foodies, motorcycle riders, wine enthusiasts, photographers, bird watchers, history buffs, and the list goes one. The cruise was just the way to get to a different port or country each day to have a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you have never cruised before, but you have a passion for food, wine, art, nature, history, etc., you might want to consider a cruise to create a unique vacation that allows you to enjoy your favorite thing every day. Just imagine being able to enjoy farm-to-table meals in 3 or 4 countries in a week. Or it could be taking pictures of waterfalls on multiple islands. Maybe it’s meeting with local artists and taking a class and by the end of your cruise your souvenirs will be your own creations.
The options are really endless. It just takes a little imagination (and a good travel agent) to help you plan a vacation custom designed for you.
Filed under: Cruises, Why A Travel Agent | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 7, 2011 by fourcornerstravel
Do People Still Use Travel Agents? Thankfully, the answer is YES!!!
When I first started in the travel business, I had two unique customers. I was planning business travel by making air/hotel/car reservations, and I was working with brides on destination weddings and honeymoons. As the years went by, the business travel faded due to increased costs in the business travel market. The brides I had worked with were now booking anniversary trips and many had young families and were now planning trips to Disney, cruises, and family-friendly resorts.
Those family trips evolved into Grand Trips. This is where the grandparents take their grandchildren on a trip, and many times the mom and dad will plan some separate activities, and sometimes they went on a completely different trip.
Cruises then became the core of my business. It was a good way to offer many options to people with different ideas about what a vacation should be. Cruises meant that families can plan activities together, but there can also be time apart to meet the different needs for everyone. The cruise lines now offer many programs for kids, and there are adult-only areas on ships to give the grown-ups some time away.
When I get asked “who is your typical client?”, I can have a hard time answering that question. The average age, income, lifestyle and travel needs keep changing. But, the one thing that doesn’t change is that my clients are busy and don’t have the time to spend hours researching rates, dates and options. They have certain ideas in mind about where they want to go and what they want to do and want to find the best value for their travel dollar. My clients also want to know that they have someone to turn to when they have a question. A traveler can find a lot of information online, but you don’t always know if it’s accurate.
My travel business has changed and evolved over the years. I have trained to become a Cruise Specialist, a Certified Destination Wedding Planner, and many more. That training and education is the reason why people still use travel agents. Sure, you can book online, but I can assure you that a database driven website doesn’t have the knowledge, experience and vendor direct resources that travel agents do.
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